This was our third Sandals and for me I think it was my favourite due to the proximity to the airport, Nassau and Atlantis for a day trip. My husband prefers the beach and restaurants at Sandals Whitehouse and there is something very romantic and special about Sandals Emerald Bay that you won't get in Sandals Royal Bahamian.
Around the Resort:
However, I found that at SRB you had so many options. During the day you can take the ferry and go off to the offshore Island which is amazing! You can also venture out and go check out Atlantis or go into Nassau, which I recommend doing so during the day time as everything closes at 5pm. We went in the evening and had a meal at Señor Frogs and had a great time. For those who miss their daily Starbucks coffee run there is one down the street and a Burger King/Domino's/Subway across the street from resort entrance. Get the number 10 bus from the resort entrance for $1.25 each way but the last bus is around 6:30. The standard taxi fare is $15 but they will try to get $18 to $20 out of you.
As mentioned the offshore island is amazing. If you want to be alone or go somewhere less crowded the off shore island is the way to go. My husband brought his own snorkeling gear and went snorkeling almost every day, he saw schools of fish and also turtles just feet from the beach on the far side of the island. When you take the ferry do not forget to bring towels as there are none on the island. One of the many things I appreciated about this resort is that both the Sandals photographers and Red Lane staff were not constantly in your face hustling you as much as they did in the other two Sandals we have stayed at. The other half of the island (not owned by Sandals) is currently being developed into a dolphin encounter which would be fun (at an additional cost) in the future.
Our room in the Oleander building in the Royal Village was dated but spacious. We saw a few rooms in the Balmoral Tower which were beautiful and new but smaller than ours. We were quite happy staying in the Royal Village which seemed to be more lush and had it's own little private pool outside our building.
Now for the food part… By any means I am not Anthony Bourdain, both my husband and I are very picky (not in a gourmet way) but found that there was something delicious to eat in all of the restaurants. I will agree with some reviewers that service can be slow but you are on holidays and some staff members are on island time. Sit back, have another cocktail and enjoy!
I felt that the grounds were maintained to a high standard and the gardens in the Royal Village were very lush. The resort didn't feel overcrowded even though the resort was over 90% capacity. The room was kept clean daily and the turn down service in the evening was very efficient and prompt. We never saw any staff cleaning our room yet it was done every day like clockwork.
I would like to take the time to acknowledge a few people that made our stay more pleasant. Thank you to Andy from maintenance, our shower broke and he came within minutes to fix it. Kerry from the Cricketer's Pub it was nice to see you again. I believe his name was Heston (he was not wearing his name tag), the piano man. We had a great time signing along and had lots of fun, however Heston is only there on Sundays but if you are staying at Emerald Bay resort I believe he is there full time. Also, the "Tiny Chef" at Kimono's restaurant (also not wearing his name tag), you are quite the entertainer. Netecia at the Windsor swim up bar was awesome! She introduced us to Caipirinha's (pronounced Kai-Pee-Reen-Ya), and even came back to make my husband another drink as she was heading for her break. It was also nice seeing The GM Patrick Drake again, we first met him at the Whitehouse resort and the second time at Emerald Bay. Our next Sandals vacation will hopefully be to St. Lucia so we hope to see you there Mr. Drake…
Opportunities for improvement:
We were only disappointed by a couple of things during our stay.
1. The beach in the resort is short and the swimming is limited as it is roped off for the ferry to the island. If it wasn't for the offshore island I would have been very disappointed so when the weather is bad and they close the island (as high winds makes it too dangerous to get on and off the ferry) this is a problem.
2. Our flight home was delayed for several hours due to technical problems (there was at least twelve other Sandals guests on the same flight). I understand that the resort has no control over flight changes but they could have informed us of the delay (there is a flight departure/arrival screen at the Balmoral Tower concierge desk), which would have given us time to make plans to go some where for four hours before heading to the airport.
Overall we had a great time. I would recommend this resort to any one who wanted to go to Nassau. I thought the resort was much nicer then the over edited photographs you see on the web site.